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Google's new music subscription service bases its recommendations on its past Internet searches. See how well YouTube Music really knows it.
USA TODAY

MANHATTAN BEACH, California – YouTube is singing a new song, but alas, if only it were as smart as advertised.

We have in our hands the new YouTube Music Premium service, which debuted on Tuesday morning in a "soft release" and will be released slowly to listeners in the coming weeks.

YouTube owner's speech Google is a music streaming service that makes better recommendations for you because it knows more about you, from your online searches and YouTube's viewing history.

But after spending two hours with the service (music.youtube.com or the YouTube Music app on iPhone or Android), I did not find the music mix more intelligent than its rival Spotify. Apple Music or Amazon Prime Unlimited. Maybe YouTube Music will become smarter about me in the coming weeks, since I use it more.

The playlist generated by Google on YouTube Music is very important for Tom Petty (Photo: Google)

YouTube Music It is offered in two varieties, compatible with advertising or $ 9.99 for the version without advertising.

Open the application and start by telling YouTube what artists you like to listen to. Go to the home page and the first thing you will notice is "A station built for you", with "endless personalized music". Your mixtape comes from artists you've heard on YouTube. Then, Google's algorithm brings together other similar artists, as other streamers have done.

More: YouTube is relaunching a music service of $ 9.99 / month to replace Google Play Music

If you like the late rocker Tom Petty, that once he made a duet with Stevie Nicks, then you probably like Nicks' Fleetwood Mac band, and Petty's ephemeral secondary group, the Traveling Wilburys. And so.

YouTube mixes are a good addition, but I do not rush to sign up for the service because of them. As with most online music, some of the songs were successful, others were not. And in the case of Petty, whom I loved, YouTube seems to think it was my favorite of all time, which is simply not the case.

The beauty of mixtapes is that you can refresh the screen and get new ones. The bad news: everyone seemed to have a constant inclination towards one or two artists. In one, practically all the other songs were Petty's. Other playlists continued this way – four of Petty, Adele and the soundtrack of the movie La La Land another had five each of the late bbadist Ray Brown and the singer John Legend.

You can remove your songs from playlists, or better yet, YouTube says, find other artists and play their music. In this way, YouTube will learn who likes it and will use the information accordingly in future mixes. Mixtures may also include live cuts.

The fact that the mixes are initially off base is a surprise, considering the YouTube recommendation engine, which is generally so good musically. If I call one of the acoustic, finger-style solo guitarists that I like, say Richard Smith or Tommy Emmanuel, YouTube generally recommends an endless mix of guitar songs that rarely make me hit the fast-forward button.

The beauty of YouTube versus rivals like Amazon and Spotify is that it has the largest music collection, by far, of any service. In addition to albums, it also has live cuts, remixes, TV appearances and direct uploads. That's why I've been a happy subscriber to Google Play Music since 2015, which came with a great bonus feature: the ability to play YouTube clips without ads and in the background.

But that simply changed.

Those bonus features are still valid for current Google Play subscribers (which will eventually disappear), but new You Tube Music customers will have to pay an additional $ 2 per month to play clips from the main YouTube network without advertising. and in the background.

I still love YouTube because of the mix of music I get on the main YouTube channel. Few of my favorite guitarists have not yet performed in my mixes created on YouTube Music, but I can live with that. It's really easy to create playlists of them myself.

Beyond the mixtape, YouTube Music revives the "mood" playlists it created for Google Play users, the suggested songs for training, going to work, relaxing and the like. My experience is that they are fun to listen to once or twice, but the coincidence is not so successful and it becomes boring. YouTube says that these mixes will be customized in the coming weeks.

The conclusion: it is the day of the inauguration, and YouTube Music is clearly a work in progress. To listen to music on demand, while playing the videos you love from the YouTube library and the rich extra material that nobody else has, YouTube can not be beat.

But the Google Assistant has a long way to go. make better matches of songs for this journalist. And Tom Petty rest in peace, but only one song per playlist, okay?

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